Olympics Odds to Win Gold Medal Heavily Favor USA Men’s Basketball
The United States men’s basketball team has claimed the gold medal in the Summer Olympic Games in each tournament since 2008 in Beijing. However, as we approach the 2021 tournament in Tokyo and begin betting on the Olympics, some pundits are speculating as to which medal–if any–Team USA will be wearing when they return to American soil. But despite their early struggles, odds to win the gold medal at online sportsbooks still heavily favor Team USA.
Let’s take a closer look at the United States roster and the international competition that will be looking to unseat them.
Gold medal odds are courtesy of BetMGM Sportsbook. If you don’t yet have an account at BetMGM, take advantage of our 2021 Olympics special offer!
Olympics Betting — Men’s Basketball Gold Medal Odds
United States (-350)
The United States 2021 roster is not quite as star-studded as the 2008 team that featured LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony, and Chris Bosh, all in their prime. In terms of superstar talent, this roster is likely still a step down from the 2012 and 2016 rosters that won gold, but Team USA is still more than capable of dominating this tournament once again. Jayson Tatum, Damian Lillard, Kevin Durant, and Devin Booker will be arguably four of the most talented players in the entire competition. The roster is complemented well with defensive-minded talents such as Draymond Green and Bam Adebayo. The exhibition schedule may have featured a few bruises and a shocking upset loss to Nigeria, but Team USA has too much talent to lose when the games begin to count for real.
Australia has never earned a medal in the men’s basketball portion of the Summer Olympic Games. However, the hype surrounding their 13th consecutive Olympic berth has oddsmakers currently giving them the second-best odds of earning gold this year, perhaps factoring in a tuneup game earlier this month in which Australia defeated the United States. This team has a legitimate opportunity to challenge for the gold medal with a roster featuring Patty Mills, Joe Ingles, Aron Baynes, Matisse Thybulle, and Dante Exum.
In the last three Summer Games, Spain has proven to be the biggest challenger to the United States, winning silver in 2008 and 2012, in addition to a bronze medal in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. Ricky Rubio and the Gasol brothers once again headline the group, but Rubio is now 31 years old, and the Gasol brothers are 41 and 36, respectively. There is simply not enough talented youth on this team to compensate for the aging veteran stars. The Spaniards put up a good fight in their most recent exhibition game against the United States, but when Team USA adds Devin Booker and Khris Middleton to the floor, the talent level on the court will be too much for Spain to overcome.
NBA fans will recognize names such as Nicolas Batum, Evan Fournier, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Frank Ntilikina, and of course, Rudy Gobert. Yet, after a sixth place finish in the 2016 Games, this once again appears to be a team lacking the star power necessary to contend for a medal. A small wager on France to be eliminated in the quarterfinal (+115) could be a profitable endeavor.
Luka Doncic will lead his home country of Slovenia into the Olympics for the first time in his career, but Slovenia likely is not strong enough to seriously threaten any of the top contenders in this tournament. We have seen Doncic win a lot of games with the Dallas Mavericks in his young NBA career, without much help, but there is simply not enough here for Doncic to help this group make much noise.
Nigeria made headlines when they defeated Team USA in Las Vegas at the beginning of July, but do not expect this team to do much once the Games get underway. Despite having eight NBA players on their roster, Jahlil Okafor is likely the only name with which American fans are familiar. Nigeria has made significant strides since losing 156-73 to the United States in the London Olympics, but they are likely still years away from being a legitimate contender for a medal. Being eliminated in the group stage (+125) is a real possibility for this team.
In Athens in 2004, Argentina took home the gold medal in men’s basketball, but we are a long time removed from that notable achievement. Luis Scola is set to play in the Olympics for a fifth time, but he is not surrounded by any players that NBA fans would recognize. If Argentina has any chance this summer, it lies in their veteran leadership and competition experience.
Although the United States showed that they are vulnerable with their exhibition loss to Nigeria, it is still incredibly difficult to bet against them, considering that their roster has no less than nine legitimate NBA superstars as well as Gregg Popovich and Steve Kerr on the coaching staff. Expect Team USA to bring home their fourth consecutive gold medal at the Tokyo games.